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Shoosh! It’s A Poetry Time: Write Me A Verse

Dear Friend,

Do you get the impression that poetry is all around us? For me, even a morning’s ear worm can be a poetry, or alluring advertisements on screens in the underground, or any sweet message from my loved ones. But hey, that’s just me. I had an amusing talk with a few of my young neighbors, and that made me realize the sad truth — Our society deeply lacks poetry in everyday life, and moms should de facto read more poetry to their children.

The world of verses exists since the literature itself. In fact, the oldest writings of the world literature are written in some form of a poetry (as the Epic of Gilgamesh, or the Iliad and the Odyssey). Yet, poetry is specific, since is not a genre that everyone will read with the same thunder. Simply, the form of verse does not suit everyone’s taste. However, according to the scholars one thing is certain – a great skill and special talent is needed for this creative expression.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.”

– Lyrical Ballads (Preface) / William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

In the past, not even that long ago, poetry was a way to express whatever one is feeling: from the statements of love, to the mockery of the ruling. It has always been an integral part of life, and like prose equally represented in the societies. Today that is not the case anymore. The media are mostly oriented to prose, while poetry is quite neglected. I’m afraid that not even in schools is fundamentally different. (Remember your school-days …)

The modern civilization, however, do not recognize the significance and value of poetry either for individuals or for society as a whole. I think that it is necessary to look the world around us with the eyes of the poet, because no one perceives the falling of the leaves, the bubbling of the water, or the trembling of the grass as the poets do. And because no one knows better to describe the beauty of the soul and the magic of solitude as the poets do. Finally, for no one craves so much for love, or truth, or freedom as the poets crave.

Paradoxically, nowadays people are writing more than ever, yet they read less. A lot less. Nobody thinks about the choice of words or the message that leaves behind him; no one disregards the reality that is fleeting, thus, blindly follows the path of accelerated life and urgent, yet not essential, communication. A modern man is not aware that he is determined by the words remained behind him, and that the society remembers one’s ability of everyday poetic expression — not in terms of rhyme and composition, but in terms of romanticism and emotions.

“Each year since 1999, UNESCO has celebrated World Poetry Day on 21st March. It is an occasion to celebrate the wealth of the world’s cultural and linguistic heritage. It is also an occasion to draw attention to traditional forms of poetry that are in danger of disappearing, as is the case for many lesser-used and minority languages.”

– UNESCO, Director-General’s Message for 2018

New wave of young people is a generation of images, not words. Not only that poetry doesn’t attract them, they do not even dare to try going deeper into the same. They lack patience, but mostly imagination. And it is precisely the ability to imagine the most valued prerequisite for understanding poetry. (Love of language, and especially of words, are an indispensable part.) The outcome, on the other hand, can be the fulfillment, or freedom, or reaching some new truth. Thus, we are not all dreamers. Or we are just dreaming differently.

I have a theory that the real dreamers are not those night owl types of people. The reason is that they wake up in the middle of the night just to realize that everything is a dream, an illusion, a suppressed desire to reach the unattainable. That scares them. Eventually, they run away from those thoughts. In fact, the real dreamers are the daytime creators. They open their senses to nature and listen to everything that surrounds them. They see the invisible, and retain the unbearable.

“The day is spilled over opaque fields. 
I’m dragging around two empty eyes 
staring into faces of passerbys. 
Who should I ask, hungry and wet, 
why have we never met?”

– A Poem For The Two Of Us / Miroslav Antić (1932-1986)

Additionally, I would like to finish this writing with one wonderful story. The celebrated Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) is among the significant personas impacting the generations of modern poets. In 1902, a nineteen-year-old aspiring poet named Franz Kappus wrote to Rilke (then twenty-six), seeking advice on his poetry and writings. Rilke was touched by the young man’s innocence and eventually responded to Kappus’ letter. Their intermittent correspondence lasted until 1908. Three years after the poet’s death (1929), Kappus published the book — Letters to a Young Poet — which collects the ten letters Rilke wrote to him.

Letters to a young poet is definitely a life manual. Rilke offers wonderful thoughts on diverse subjects as love, art, creativity, writing, life, family. It encourages you and gives you a strength, it motivates you, and after all the softness of Rilke’s writing and the beauty of his expressions are an additional enchantment.

Lots of Love,
Selena



PS: If you found yourself in the previous lines, if you feel that you can do it and if you really want to do it write a rhyme, I dare you. Or the verse. Try it! Yet, beware, there’s a great chance you’ll like it. Let me know how it went!

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